MTDfB : ICPA Collaboration with MyFirmsApp – Straightforward clients Update
At the risk of stating the obvious small practice accountants have many self-employed and small business clients whose turnover does not threaten to breech the Vat Registration threshold and who on the whole don’t operate from a business bank account and for whom bookkeeping is simply a matter of a notebook and pen and by notebook I’m not talking about a computer.
These clients that HMRC disparaging call “Straightforward” are for many accountants their staple client and one that they have built their practices on and around and now they find that HMRC is assiduously targeting them with blandishments about free software and cost savings which to everyone except HMRC means our fees.
The failure to recognise any form of sensible turnover level exemption for these taxpayers means that anyone with a turnover of over £10,000 will have to start returning quarterly accounts from April 2019 which in itself is further proof positive of HMRC’s intent to virtually exempt no one from the rigours of their new regime.
Recognising these facts early on it was apparent that these clients frankly could but should not be moved to the standard cloud based systems that we all use for larger clients as the cost would be prohibitive and their working practices, not using a business bank account etc. meant that any automation savings would be negligible and we most certainly didn’t want to try to start teaching them bookkeeping.
The answer has to be in the form of an App whereby income and receipts can be entered simply and easily either via a smart ‘phone camera or direct entry BUT unlike the supposed free App HMRC have been promoting this App HAD to allow for us as Accountants to review our client’s data, make amendments and claim the necessary reliefs AND most importantly make the quarterly submission on behalf of OUR client which is what OUR clients want us to do.
To bring this to fruition we at the ICPA have been making ourselves available whenever asked by the design team at My Firms App to make their App how shall I put it “Accountant Friendly”.
At a recent webinar I promised to keep everyone updated as to progress so let me tell you that Justin Mays Head of Research and Development and his team at My Firms App are working flat out to bring this to fruition and the word from Joel Oliver MD of My Firms App is that the launch is on track for the 2nd Quarter of the year.
So, what have we at the ICPA been involved in? Well we have talked about what our clients will see when they go into the App and we have decided on a simple range of reports in the form of graphs, which will be meaningful without being too technical.
We discussed and have agreed that there will be a facility to enable our client to record a transaction but in cases of uncertainty, they will be able to leave them unallocated so we can complete this on their behalf and how this will be easily identifiable within our “Client control panel”
We have settled on the items that will populate our Accountants Control panel and how it will be displayed and we have discussed at some length, how much information the client needs to enter when he is set up on the App and to provide for clients joining part way through their accounts year.
The App has been christened “My Firms App Collect”. A catchy title which I think is simple and effective says what it does. Collects everything you need for your tax in one place. Look out for the product launch soon.
I genuinely believe that even though HMRC are adding layer upon layer of compliance burden upon the very smallest taxpayers. We as Accountants will be able to offer exactly those clients the same comforts and help that we do at present even if we have to undertake 4 quarterly updates and a year-end compliance for clients that presently bring us an “Adidas” shoe box full of bills with some handwritten sheets by way of analysis.
All we need to do is hold on whilst new systems like “My Firms App Collect” are being developed but you can be sure that we at the ICPA will do everything we can to make sure that no matter how much HMRC seek to Impose on our clients we will have an answer.
My next update will have more actual footage to show you and please came along to Accountex 2017 or Practice Evolution and put any questions you want to me in person.
This blog was written by Tony Margaritelli, Chairman of the ICPA. The ICPA is dedicated to supporting and promoting the needs of the general practitioner. You can find us at www.icpa.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0800-074-2896.